1. In April, we visited Guatemala. It was my first time to Central America, to Tim’s home country, to the community of La Limonada, and to meet our sponsored child. Having already blogged about these experiences, I won’t go into detail. This was the absolute highlight of my year and I feel overjoyed to now get to work for Lemonade International in a small way to advocate and tell the stories of what God is doing there.
2. We purchased our first house. Choosing the most diverse and densely populated city in Arizona, we are excited to live in Tempe for this time. Committed to deep hospitality, we have read up on Nouwen, R.F. Capon, Christine Pohl and Edith Schaeffer as we continue to cultivate a vision and practice of welcoming friend and stranger into shared meals, restful space, and friendship. Countless dinners, house-guests, and long walks along the bike path – we are grateful to live near my family and central to many friends.
3. We were part of 4 weddings this year – three which required travel, two of which Tim was the best man, and one which added a new sister-in-law to the family. All were beautiful, meaningful and unique to the couple getting married. An outdoor shin-dig in southern Illinois full of laughter and corn-hole tossing, an adventurous mountain vow exchange with a RedBull sipping bride, a large stain-glassed church filled with the beautiful songs of John Rutter floating in from the hidden choir up on the balcony, and a classy Fall affair in the land of cheese curds and beer.
4. My Grandma passed away. After a long battle with Alzheimer’s, she was released to glory. A meaningful service, she was remembered more for who she was than anything she accomplished. She impacted everyone she met with her warmth and hospitable nature. A great lady, she was full of elegance and kindness. She also was known for being a champion of the underdog and could be feisty when defending what was just and right.
5. We were in the middle of incredible answers to prayer in many ways — particularly with the safe arrival of our goddaughter Lauren Kate. Her parents were faithful examples to me of “continuing to entrust themselves” to the One who gave this long awaited baby. She is healthy and beautiful.
6. Tim and I worked with our great friend Eileen on a beautiful conference called Common Good Phoenix. Hosted by CCA, we spent much of our time gathering panelists from all walks of life who have a vision for how God will use their daily work to seek the flourishing of our city and pouring over the logistics of bringing people to hear the legendary Andy Crouch lay the Biblical groundwork and cast a vision for what God has called us to. We also shared an incredible El Salvadoran lunch together – the Pupusa’s were a definite highlight.
7. I loved working with Christianity Today’s This Is Our City, including the unique opportunity to write an article for the project. I also gained another “mentor” whom I will continue to watch and follow in her example and embodiment of these beautiful truths.
8. We celebrated our 2nd Anniversary with a trip to Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon. Once again reminded of how amazing it is to do all of life together with the love of your life. And how much there is to see, savor and enjoy together!
9. My parents rented a cozy beach cottage in California, hosting us and my brother’s family for a relaxing vacation. The highlight was watching our niece & nephew fully enjoy the ocean. Here’s to making this a tradition!
10. I started working for UMOM this last July in their development department. Thoroughly impressed with the quality programs of the largest homeless shelter for families in Phoenix, I’m grateful to work with the vulnerable in our community. It has also been a highlight to watch Tim do incredible work with his mad content strategy skillz.
11. We lost a good church. It dissolved. We were wounded. But, we have been in the process of restoration as we embrace the beauty of historically rooted and formative deep liturgy in a new church. Our quarterly retreat days, the practice of ‘lectio divina’ and endless hours of reading have also made for a deeper faith and richer imagination.
I could keep going on with more highlights such as a Patty Griffin show, the discovery of IPA’s, or the new opportunities we have had to invest in our city, but the length is already dangerously close to a Paul Burkhart post.
Cheers to God’s faithfulness to us in 2013 & all that is to come in 2014!